Letter to Ernest Hemingway from John Kirby
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20th July, 1936. Ernest Hemingway, Esq., ℅ Jonathan Cape Ltd., 50, Bedford Square, London……….W.C. 1. Dear Mr. Hemingway, Will you be kind enough to give me the names of any more books you know in English on bullfighting? Please don’t mention Baerlein’s “Belmonte the Matador” because I’ve read that, and it’s terrible. It’s probably a little late and a little impertinent to congratulate you on “Death in the Afternoon”, but I did find it magnificent and I have never re-read any other book so of- ten. By the way, if this is not too much bother to you, I should like to know if you have seen Marcial Lalanda recently and if so what you thought of him. He fought at the only Corrida I’ve seen (at Santander last July), and he wouldn’t go anywhere near the bull. His first bull was bad, certainly but he made nothing of it: and he didn’t do much with the second bull, which was very good - at least the people around said he was good, and he certainly charged whenever he was cited. There was a lot of whistling and shouts of “Get him a pistol”, and I was told afterwards that Lalanda has a wife and four children and plenty of money, and is far more concerned with getting out of the ring than getting into it. Naturally, I was very disappointed after what you had said about him, but that afternoon he was certainly the worse thing on view. Of course, it’s possible that the crowd tended to like the wrong thing, and to miss good work under difficulties, because Armillita triumphed with both bulls, and cut ears and Tails each time, which struck me as being too good to be true. It’s asking rather a lot to expect you to discuss all this, but I should be very grateful if you would at any rate [page break] let me have some names of books. The only other one I know of is de Montherlant’s “The Bullfighters”, but as far as I can make out this is not published over here. I enclosed a stamped addressed envelope. Yours sincerely, [hand signed John Kirby]
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